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The Priorities

January 18, 2012

As I rev up my expectations for what Maison & Objet will bring when it opens on Friday, I lay out my priorities for coverage ahead of time. While yours may differ from mine, I hope this to be an informal if highly subjective guide to working the show.

Given the audience of HTT, naturally, my first stop will always be home textiles.
In Hall 2 the focus is on finished home products: bed, bath, kitchen and other household linens. In Hall 7, " Maison & Objet editeurs" sets the benchmark for the best from decorative fabric houses bringing together premium offerings of high quality fabrics by the yard, trims, wallpapers, paints, carpets and rugs. "M&O editeurs" is a must stop for interior designers working on prestige projects.
Look here for "Retro chic", identified as one of the standout trends of this year's event.
It may draw on the charm of the Romantic Period, on the splendors of the Mogul Empire, or on 60s and 70s vintage designs.

In Hall 2 Couture Culture rules. The great names of fashion appearing in household linens continue to dominate, bringing with them the vitality and high quality techniques from the world of designer fashion. These licensed collections add character and style to core categories. Here you will witness the international launch of Roberto Cavalli's home products. His entry is supported by the staying power of many other prestigious fashion icons including, Kenzo, Hugo Boss, Sonia Rykiel, Ungaro and more.
In this section, look for vintage chic of the 50s and expanded use of graphic designs.

Next, I check out the trend exhibitions commissioned each season by the Maison & Objet organizers to highlight trends as envisioned by well-known designers and seers, especially selected for their talent to see what's likely to be in our future.
These exhibits are positioned near the entrance areas of several of the halls.
No word yet as to their forecasts.

These presentations are part of the show"s "Trends Observatory," an overall initiative introduced to provide industry professionals with detailed specialist insight into the major trends emerging from the broad range of exhibitors at this event.

Part and parcel is the choice of an overriding theme for each seasonal show - this time the umbrella is "Crazy," an attempt to chase away the clouds of recession and escape conformity, to boost the spirits and celebrate imagination and do so with a sense of humor - even folly and whimsy. The point is not to take ourselves too seriously.

Last but not least, twice a year in a limited edition of 1,500 copies, Maison's Inspiration Trend books are essential tools to many in the home fashions and decorative trade. To create these books, Maison & Objet Conservatory brings together style agencies, journalists, designers and other experts to look out beyond today for us. Together, they decode and analyze what they see to allow us to sense and understand emerging consumer trends.

You could do worse than to review these books and pre-inform yourself before delving into the show's aisles. You are bound to approach them with a better understanding of what you are about to see.